The jobs outlook for 2010 remains dim and it may get even dimmer. Companies have re-engineered themselves and in the process, have discovered that they can operate just as well or better, with a smaller work force. This is a realization that was going to come even without the recession, because technology over the past 20 years has radically shifted the needs and capabilities of most businesses. While this appears to be bad news for the work force, it may not be in the long term.
Never in the past 50 years has it been as easy for a person to start and run a business as a one or two person venture as it is today. Even service related businesses can outsource labor to local subcontractors and the self-employed. Thereby spreading jobs and income more efficiently, causing the businesses to prosper. .
Many of today's long term unemployed will find themselves faced with the choice of continueing to be unemployed or face reality and start a business. Fortunately, the Internet provides and endless source of free information and education that can make this doable, even by those with no prior experience, if they are committed to succeeding.. The drop in real estate prices and the closure of many businesses will make many commercial rentals far more affordable than they have been in decades, as landlords will be motivated to fill their vacancies.
All across America we will see small, local businesses and entepreneurs begin to fill needs and niches with new kinds of businesses. In many cases there will be a revival of many old style businesses. We as a nation have becomed mired in a web of local regulations that have made it difficult to bootstrap one person businesses, this will change somewhat, out of necessity. Americans at all income levels will downsize their economic expectations and demands for the superfluous. This is a good thing, because we had gotten way out of hand, and it was killing us, individually and as a nation.
Our days of rampant consumption are drawing to a close, by necessity, and with them, there will be an abandonment of the "just throw it ot and get a new one", mentality that has been the hallmark of the Amrerican consumer for the past forty years. As Americans relearn how to "make do", there will be an increased need for "fix it shops", handymen, and repair people of all types. Seamstresses, cooks, home economists, and others with practical skills will again be in demand.
Due to the new trend in frugality that America will experience, a whole host of businesses will grow up to support our desire to preserve what we have, and use what we have wisely. By the time this recession is over, there will be a new generatrion that won't even remember the overwhelming excesses of their parent's and grandparents' generations.
All in all, the pain that America is going through now, may eventually save us as a culture, as people and as an economy.